The critical role CDI plays in better patient outcomes with Holly Flynn
Holly Flynn is the Director of CDI at Nuance. She shares how her 20 years of expertise in the nursing and critical care realm led her to transform and lead CDI programs from coast to coast. From changing expectations in documentation to new auditing initiatives, she offers a wealth of knowledge that reflects how CDI improves patient care and hospital success.
Leading CDI programs to quality care
After moving cross-country for a job at the University of Washington Medical Center, Holly found herself going from an experienced nurse in critical care to the bottom of the rung as a newbie in the CDI space. However, she quickly worked her way up, becoming a manager in five short months.
The University of Washington Medical Center was partnering with J.A. Thomas and Associates (which would eventually become acquired by Nuance) at the time to improve their CDI. In her role, she helped guide the program to address gaps in their documentation, improve financial compensation, and demonstrate how critical decisions made by physicians and caregivers in the hospital could be recognized.
From there, she was recruited by the CMO at the hospital to come on board in his office and coordinate with the Chiefs to help them understand how documentation affects safe patient care.
5:38 “Every patient expects and deserves to have their medical record correct and complete and… that medical record is used by the clinical team to communicate.”
When Holly moved back East, she reconnected with J.A. Thomas and Associates and became a Senior Clinical Consultant. She improved education within the company and implemented programs with CDI teams and physicians. When the company was acquired by Nuance, this brought a whole new level of valuable, technical resources to their team.
She soon transitioned into a subject matter expert about CDI to support sales, which brought her on the road with the sales team. She would offer the clinical perspective and bridged the gap between administration and clinicians. Most recently, she has been promoted to Director of Clinical Consulting at Nuance where her main responsibility is to help clients achieve success with CDI.
Bridging the gap
Holly highlights how her clinical experience in nursing and critical care allows her to build a strong, comfortable relationship with physicians. Their common experience and knowledge base helps bridge the gap from physician to CDI specialist. This is particularly valuable when explaining to physicians how important it is for patient care and financial purposes to not only document the care provided, but also be able to prove it.
14:44 “There is a very rampant auditing initiative across the country. Private payers - they don’t like to give up their money and so they are very stringent on the documentation. And honestly, the physicians just want to practice medicine. So the role of CDI is to be that bridge for the physicians to ensure that the documentation is very, very robust.”
This is where automation becomes crucial to providing exceptional care, by allowing the professionals to spend more time at the bedside caring for the acute, ill patients and less time with paperwork. In addition, it’s important to note that CDI informs how the public views a hospital and it's quality of care. Improving CDI means improving your hospital’s reputation.
The Nuance approach
At Nuance, Holly emphasizes that their mission is to be a part of the workflow in the hospital. So much so, that staff doesn’t even know that they are there. Nuance strives to provide a seamless integration of CDI and care. Holly underlines two important priorities that she encourages hospitals to implement:
1. It is crucial to start accurate, detailed documentation the moment the patient enters the hospital. Remember, it not only saves time in the long-run, it is also being used for caregivers and doctors to provide care during the stay.
2. Make sure doctors are educated on how the coding is done. This helps physicians and CDI specialists work together to create a complete and correct medical record.
Holly shares a study she completed with Dr. Jane Peterson by looking at 300 patients who were experiencing acute, post-op, respiratory failure. They examined the documentation and care processes that were in place, and were able to identify down to the time and day, when the process was going wrong. This allowed them to target these areas where the breakdown was happening and improve the process for better patient outcomes.
This incredible way that CDI was able to help identify and solve problems is just one example of how accurate documentation can save lives.
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